23 October 2014

The number of eggs, the rate of aging and the likelihood of heart disease

A woman is born together with her eggs, the number of which gradually decreases during the reproductive period of her life. It is this process that eventually triggers the onset of menopause.

It is known that there is a certain relationship between menopause and heart disease. Thus, the early onset of menopause – up to 46 years – increases the likelihood of developing these diseases by two times.

This increase in risk is due to several factors accompanying the onset of menopause, including changes in the type of cholesterol produced by the body, redistribution of fat deposits and an increase in blood pressure. It is also believed that a certain role belongs to a strong decrease in estrogen levels, which contribute to maintaining the elasticity of blood vessels.

However, Marcelle Cedars from the University of California at San Francisco suggested that the increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases with the early onset of menopause may have a more fundamental cause, such as accelerated aging of the body.

In search of this reason, researchers working under her leadership collected blood samples from 1,100 menopausal women aged 25-45 years and analyzed the amount of anti-Muller hormone (AMH) contained in them, which is an indicator of the number of eggs preserved in a woman's ovaries. The actual number of eggs was determined by counting the follicles visualized by ultrasound examination of the ovaries.

To assess the biological age of the women, the researchers measured the telomere length of their white blood cells.

3-5 years after the first examination, 250 women returned for a second examination, and scientists calculated for each of them the level of risk of developing heart disease over the next decade using the Framingham Scale. This method of risk assessment takes into account factors such as cholesterol concentration in the blood, blood pressure and body weight.

As the authors expected, women with fewer eggs in the ovaries were characterized by higher scores on the Framingham scale, as well as shorter telomeres. According to the results of earlier studies, short telomeres are associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, cancer and premature death.

Thus, a small number of eggs in the ovaries may indicate an increased risk of developing not only cardiovascular diseases, but also other age-related diseases. However, epidemiological studies are needed to confirm this assumption.

The authors believe that the reason for the revealed pattern may be the sensitivity of the ovaries to the aging process. They note that many women are being examined for infertility, and if a small number of eggs are detected, they should be recommended regular examinations for the state of the cardiovascular system, as well as compliance with the appropriate lifestyle.

The results of the work were presented at the annual congress of the American Community of Specialists in Reproductive Medicine, held on October 18-22 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Evgeniya Ryabtseva
Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru based on the materials of the Annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.


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